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Robert F. Diegelmann, PhD, From the Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, Wounds. 2001;13(5)

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Beautiful skin starts from the inside and ensuring you have the necessary nutrients to build strong, healthy skin. Elastin, a molecule in the skin that gives it flexibility, is made of simple amino acids such as glycine, valine, alanine, and proline. When you don’t get enough of these amino acids, your body has a more difficult time producing elastin. Collagen comprises 70 to 80 percent of the skin’s dry weight and gives the dermis its structure. As we age, collagen production gradually declines, and our skin becomes thinner.  Proline and lysine are two amino acids essential in the formation of the collagen helix from the immature pro-collagen molecule. The critical step occurs when these amino acids become “hydroxylated” to hydroxy-proline and hydroxy-lysine. The enzymes that cause the conversion are called “hydroxylases” and require vitamin C and iron as cofactors. If a person is Vitamin C deficient, this reaction will not occur and adequate collagen cannot be made. Vitamin C actually “talks to” your DNA telling it to make more collagen.

Amino acids like l-proline and l-lysine as well as vitamin C are such a critical component of any anti aging IV? High dose vitamin C levels are required to help with collagen formation and these levels of vitamin can only be achieved with IV administration, not with oral intake.

It is important to understanding the connections between nutritional status and skin health.  Skin the largest organ in our bodies, and it provides a visual clue to your overall health. If metabolic aberrations are at play that have the power to damage your internal organs, your skin will manifest them. Blotchy, dry, red, wrinkled skin is outward sign of an internal process affecting the whole body.

Oxidative damage increases with smoking, heavy alcohol use, heavy metal and toxin accumulation, sun damage and also chronic illnesses such a diabetes, metabolic syndrome or autoimmune illness. Oxidatively damaged skin will likely be more wrinkled, less elastic and thin. Antioxidants like vitamin A, E, alpha lipoic acid, vitamin C and glutathione help alleviate this damage.

Chronic inflammation, is thought to be a major player in chronic illness like diabetes, atherosclerosis, obesity and even cancer.  Often this process begins in the gut which is where a tremendous portion of your immune system lives. However, problems can arise when the billions of bacteria that call your gut home cause the immune system to become overactive. This can lead to permeability in the lining of your intestines often referred to as “leaky gut” or “high intestinal permeability”. When you suffer from this condition a downward spiral of chronic inflammation can be set off, because foreign substances can “leak” through the lining in your gut and get absorbed into circulation. “Leaky gut” and inflammation may manifest in your skin as blotchiness, rashes, eczema and redness as just a few examples.

The good news is that the condition seems to respond well to changes in diet, supplements like l-glutamine, probiotic use and lower stress levels.